Local Artist's Sculpture Chosen For National Exhibition
Gary Betts used nails gathered by the river at Strand on the Green
Local artist and sculptor Gary Betts has been selected for the prestigious Royal Marine Art exhibition with a sculpture he composed from rusty nails gathered by the Thames in Chiswick. Some of the nails are hundreds of years old and date back to the days when the area was a centre for boatyards and riverside crafts and industries.
Gary who is originally from London’s East end but who grew up in Epping, will see his work, entitled 'Echoes of the Thames' on show at the Mall Galleries from October 16- 27th. The exhibition will be opened by television presenter Dan Snow and will feature painting and sculpture works that involves the sea and the marine environment.
Gary, who is married to Jane, has lived in Chiswick for nearly 20 years and has a studio in Brentford. He was worked as a graphic artist, storyboard artist for film, art direction, ceramicist and sculptor. He is a member of the British Royal Society of Sculptors.
It took him a couple of days to collect the nails and about two weeks to put the sculpture together- the process involved cleaning the rust off the nails and using a resin-type glue to hold them together before replacing the rust and mounting the two-foot by two-foot piece on black wood.
"I liked the idea of using these nails- and there were hundreds of them just under the surface of the mud- to create something nautical. These nails had been holding boats together hundreds of years ago. I'm really more of a ceramicist and it was the first time I had made a boat", he commented.
Best known for his figurative work, often of human figures wearing animal heads- he says he often draws inspiration from memories of his childhood.
"I turned my back on the expected path of East End working life, and enrolled at art school instead, where an incredibly supportive tutor instantly recognised my individual anatomical style and encouraged me to specialise in sculpture.
"I have been exploring and developing my figurative art ever since. The idea as well as the image is important to me. There is always a subtext lying behind the textures, patterns and shapes, they convey my personal insights, often memories drawn from my childhood playing in Epping Forest."